The company Formatting Experts delivers top-notch, personalized service with no money required up front to format my books for print and electronic distribution. Relax, I keep telling myself, but I still wake up in the middle of the night thinking about the most recent set of formatted pages I've approved or returned for corrections.
For instance, we've massaged the text of Arrowstar multiple times while getting the new e-book’s end page ship-shape for readers. We've included a link to Charade and the chance to read the first chapter immediately following the end of Arrowstar. Doing so makes buying the second book in the series a snap. Finalizing details like these generate email decision-making that clearly reminds me of those long-since-past, eight-to-five workdays.
This adventure into authorship has taught me to be very forgiving when I find copy-editing mistakes in books I’m reading. Arrowstar has been read for errors multiple times by me and my copy editor, and yet I found one more change to be made just yesterday! I believe it when I’m told that the brain sees what it expects to see on the printed page and not necessarily what is really printed. In other words, our mind’s eye makes tiny corrections for us based on our expectations.
An eye to marketing the books also figures into this “formatting” process. Although Arrowstar has been available as an e-book since 2011, I don’t have access to Amazon’s email list of people who have bought the book. With this re-launch of all the books in the series and the first publication of The Storm Women, there exists a need to communicate with loyal readers. The end-pages of the books provide an opportunity to gather not only an email reader list, but also request reader reviews.
On the surface, these add-on’s seem easy, but the “devil” truly is in the details. Building an email address list requires signing up for a mailing service like Mail Chimp where the addresses can be stored and a process for mass emails can be established. Beyond that, an automatic return email must be created along with incentives for readers to enjoy giving up their email addresses. And this example describes but one of the many layered steps to publication and distribution.
I now have so many websites, passwords, and accounts to keep straight that I have to refer to my secure password keeper multiple times during a day’s work toward launching the books. I consider myself very fortunate to have my granddaughter, who just got her BA in Communications, putting in as much time as she can spare to act as publicist for the books.
In the midst of the anxiety surrounding the series launch, I’m pushing myself to get “out there” to promote the books in person. I've joined a networking group for authors, and I’m looking for local book clubs where I can pitch the series. Will all this activity actually lead to book sales? I’m hopeful and determined and cautiously optimistic about the chances, but in all honesty, I’d rather be back in Mineral City exchanging barbs with my characters.
A quote that keeps me sane: “Determination and persistence alone are omnipotent.” Silent Cal (President Calvin Coolidge)
Write on, Read on, and Keep on Keeping On!